Counselling theory comes in a number of different forms. Reputable counsellors will have received training and qualifications in one or more of these areas. Reputable counsellors are also likely to be members of a professional body. My training was in Person Centred Counselling, although I draw upon a number of other theoretical models in my work. I am considered qualified to practice, holding a Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling (TC-L4). I am also a member of the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) - a body that provides guidelines for professional conduct, and an ethical framework within which member are expected to operate.
Counselling is classed as a "talking therapy". What that means in practice is that counselling offers a space in which you can explore problems and difficult feelings in a safe, supportive and confidential environment. Counselling training equips counsellors to understand how best to help you in this process. This is why it's different from just talking to your friends. A counsellor will be able to help you get to the bottom of the issues that you face, and be able to help you to find ways of implementing change.
Counselling can't provide you with magic solutions to your problems. Counselling is all about helping you to find your own solutions - because counsellors believe that you are always the best person to make decisions about your life. So a counsellor won't offer to make those decisions on your behalf, or try to tell you what you should be doing.
Counselling can help you explore your feelings, to understand where they come from, and to find ways of dealing with those feelings. If you're feeling depressed, counselling can't take that depression away, but it can help you to live with it in a way that feels bearable, and it can help you to find the tools you need to potentially overcome it.
Counselling is for everyone. The vast majority of counsellors will have received personal therapy as part of their training. Anyone can benefit from counselling at any time in their life. If you feel that you're dealing with feelings that are interfering with your ability to live your life in the way that you want, then this would probably be a good time to consider counselling. I recognise that it's an expensive commitment, so I offer the first session free with no commitment to come back if it doesn't feel right for you.
Reputable counsellors will be happy to work with people from a wide diversity of backgrounds. However, not all counsellors will be equally familiar with all lifestyles, cultures and identities. I consider myself to be an LGBTQ+ friendly counsellor. I have friends, colleagues and acquaintances across a broad range of sexual orientations and gender identities. I also have friends who identify as polyamorous, and variants thereof. You will not experience any judgement from me around your identity or around your lifestyle choices. Your identity or lifestyle will only be of relevance if it's something you wish to discuss.
© Hearthside Counselling 2019